was built on seven hills on a curve of the Tiber River. Rome is situated half way between the Alps to the north and the southern tip of Italian peninsula.
The city is also located near the center of the Mediterranean Sea. The Early Republic Around
600 B.C. Rome was unified into one city that covered nearly 500 square miles. The last king of Rome, Tarquin the Proud, was ousted from power in 509 B.C. Shortly after Romans declared that no king would rule Rome again and created a republic.
Only free-born males would be granted Roman citizenship and voting rights. Early on two groups coveted power: the Patricians and the Plebeians.
The Patricians: wealthy land owners that had most of the power The Plebeians: common farmers , artisans, and merchants that made up the majority of the populations. Elected
representatives called tribunes. Government in the Republic In 451 B.C. Romes laws were officially written down
on 12 tablets and placed in the Forum Forum was the center of Roman political life:
Two officials called consul commanded the army and directed the government. Their term was only 1 year and they could not be reelected for another ten years.
They could veto the others decision. The Senate was a 300 member assembly that made decisions regarding foreign and domestic policy. At first the Senate was made up of only patricians
but later Plebeians were allowed to join. The Roman army was organized into units called legions. Service was mandatory if you owned land or wanted to seek certain public offices.
Romes Influence Grows By 265 B.C. Rome had conquered nearly all of the Italian peninsula and incorporated conquered peoples into Roman life. Because of Romes location on the Mediterranean Sea, Rome had an extensive trade network.
From 264 B.C.- 146 B.C. Rome and Carthage, a citystate in north Africa, fought a series of wars known as the Punic Wars. During the Second Punic War a Carthaginian named Hannibal tried to take Rome but failed even though he inflicted heavy loss on the Romans. The Third Punic War saw Rome defeat Carthage for
good in 146 B.C. and become masters of the western Mediterranean Sea. The Republic Collapses As
Rome grew in size the gap between the rich and the poor became larger. Many farmers were left jobless and homeless. The Army was no longer loyal to the
Republic. Generals amassed large numbers of soldiers who owned their allegiance to their commander not the Republic. Caesar Takes Control Caesar was a very popular general. He was a consul along
with his friend Pompey. After leaving consul he declared himself governor of Gaul (present day France). While there he fought for 8 years (58 50 B.C.) to defeat all of Gaul. By doing this he gain tremendous from the people of Rome except for the Senate and Pompey, now his rival. He was ordered to disband his army and return home by the
Senate and Pompey in 50 B.C. He refused and instead with his army crossed the Rubicon River and marched on Rome. He defeated Pompey and in 46 B.C. was named dictator of Rome and two years later named dictator for life. He instituted many reforms such as granting citizenship to
many outside of Italy. In 44 B.C. he was assassinated by several Senators including Marcus Brutus. V.
An Empire Begins In 43 B.C. Octavian, Mark Antony, and Lepidus took control of Rome and ruled as a triumvirate.
Octavian soon pressured Lepidus to retire and He and Mark Antony fought for control of Rome. Mark Antony met the Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and together they tried to defeat Octavian but failed. Octavian became the ruler of Rome and took
the name Augustus meaning exalted one. Rome was now an empire. Roman Life and Culture For 207 years peace reigned throughout the empire during a period known as the Pax Romana
or Roman Peace. By the second century A.D. the Roman Empire stretched from Spain in the west to India in the east and African in the south to Britain in the north. Agriculture was the most important industry. Slavery was an important feature of everyday life
in Roman society. Gods and Goddesses were linked to the government and include Jupiter (father of the gods), Juno (his wife), and Minerva (goddess of wisdom and arts).
Christianity and the Empire Due to the size of the empire there were
many religions but none were more important that of the Roman gods. In A.D. 70 Roman officials put down a Jewish rebellion and destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. Christianity spread quickly throughout the
Roman Empire; however it posed a serious challenge to the Roman rulers. Christians were persecuted for not worshiping Roman gods. Many were crucified, burned, banished, or offered up in the circus arenas.
By the second century A.D. millions of Christians lived in the empire and the religion appealed to many different groups. In A.D. 312 Constantine was fighting for control
of the empire. Before a battle he asked for divine help and had a vision of a cross. He had the cross painted on the shields of his soldiers and won the battle. In A.D. 313 Constantine issued the Edict of Manila that put an end to the persecution of
Christians and welcomed them into the empire. In 380 the emperor Theodosius made it the official religion of the empire.
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